Sun and Chess: The Erice Open in Sicily

by Diana Mihajlova
8/21/2015 – It is pleasant to have a high rating but that is no need to forget the nice sides of playing chess tournaments: traveling, taking a holiday, enjoying the sun and relaxing on the beach to be well prepared for some serious thinking. The Erice Open in Sicily offers a good opportunity to combine holidays with a chess tournament. As Diana Mihajlova can confirm.

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The sixth Open "Terre degli Elimi" took place from 28. July – 4. August 2015 in Erice,  in the western part of Sicily. The setting of the town is inspiring and relaxing. During the highest heat of the summer, Erice, perched on a hill, provides a welcome cool, while inviting beaches are minutes away down the valley, all surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

The old part of Erice (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Cathedral

San Vito Beach

Three tournaments, Master ( > 1800) B (< 2000) and C (< 1500) attracted 116 players. In the Masters 13 titled players took part, five of them were grandmasters.

The Organiser Alessandro Monaco was content: „Judging from players’ expressions, it was definitely a success, both from technical point of view and by the number and quality of Italian and international participants.”

The group photo with the participants taken at the Piazza Umberto I
(and with the organiser Monaco sitting in front) indicate the friendly
atmosphere of the tournament.

The Masters was won by Russian IM Sergei Matsenko with 7.5/9. Places two and three went to GM Imre Hera from Hungary and GM Salvador Alonso from Argentina who both scored 6.5/9. Place four (with the same score) went to the Spanish women’s champion WGM Sabrina Vega Gutierrez.

IM Sergei Matsenko with the trophy.

GM Imre Hera

GM Salvador Alonso

WGM Sabrina Vega Gutierrez

Then followed a group of seven players with 6.0/9. The two best Italian players were part of this group: GM Danyyil Dvirnyy and FM Gabriele Franchini Modena.

GM Danyyil Dvirnyy

FM Gabriele Franchini Modena

Michel Bifulco from Palermo

Hungarian GM Denes Boros won the beauty prize


The "Francesco Monaco" award goes to the best U-20 player and is dedicated to the memory of the organiser’s father. This year it went to the Russian Danii Nedostrup.

Danii Nedostrup

The women’s prize went to WIM Aranaz Amalia Murillo from Spain.

The Belgian Tim Vandenbroucke won the B-Open with 7.0/9. Simon Van Poucke who is also from Belgium was second with the same score. Bronze went to Antonino Lo Piccolo from Sicily – he scored 6.0/9.

Tim Vandenbroucke

Antonino Lo Piccolo

The young Sicilian, Andrea D'Arpa, won the C-Open with 6.0/7.

 Official tournament site

A former university lecturer in Romance philology, she is currently a painter as well as a chess journalist, and reports regularly from the international tournament scene.


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